Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Down to the Cores

Posted 09/12/2010 by Katie Boyer

TJ establishes core values to create a more successful community.

Artwork by Katie Boyer

For the 2010-2011 school year, TJ has decided to put into effect five core values: respect, commitment, honesty, empowerment and understanding (which can all be found on a poster in any classroom), for a more respectful and understanding classroom environment.

In the dictionary, respect is listed as the condition of being honored, but the Spartan definition is “The 5 P’s”: Prompt, polite, positive, prepared and productive. With this, the TJ administration is hoping to encourage students to be on time to class, and also  plans to push students to be well-mannered, positive and get to class with all of their materials, ready to learn. TJ Senior Mackie Short says, “Students learn more when they feel respected. It’s also just a nice feeling to have.”

Commitment to academic excellence and to the school’s vision is what one would expect from all students, but that’s not all commitment stands for at TJ. It also stands for collaboration with other students and the TJ Spartan community.  Commitment also includes keeping high expectations as well as high quality work.

Honesty, defined as communicating openly, is what most would say makes someone a good person.  Social Studies Teacher Mark Smith agrees, saying, “These core values are basic rules for society. They make for a better world and should be what we all live life by.” Thomas Jefferson’s goal with this is to persuade students to have open and honest two-way dialogue with classmates as well as with teachers and other faculty members. This also makes it easy for kids to say what’s on their minds, and provide critical feedback to their teachers about lessons or teaching methods. So, if students don’t like something, they feel like they can easily talk to their teachers about ways to improve.

The TJ administration believes that empowerment means taking ownership of one’s education or, in other words, taking responsibility for one’s future.  This pushes students to be more independent and understand that what they do now will affect their future. As the administration says, all can learn and be successful. The core value of empowerment reminds students that they have the power to steer their own future.

TJ also hopes to have an understanding atmosphere by stating that it wants Spartans to learn with diversity and have a willingness to learn about each other. The TJ faculty feels that allowing all Spartans to be themselves will reduce bullying and create a more open and friendly setting. “I think this [core value] will help reduce segregation of cliques and maybe even unite the school,” Senior Mario Ventrello comments.

These core values are being implemented by the staff at TJ in an effort to create a better school year for all Spartans. New Ceramics Teacher Doris Bauerlein adds, “I think these values are awesome! They’ll definitely help the school.” With respect, commitment, honesty, empowerment, and understanding as the school’s guide, the Spartan faculty and staff hopes that improvement is to come for students, staff, and the entire TJ community.